wigan casino and student union
I remember Quintessence at the casino in 69 or 70.what a fantastic night.I stood about a foot away from Shiva the singer,I nearly fainted with joy.Does anybody else remember this?
Started: 15th Jul 2020 at 12:49
Come on Jr and any other music lovers,you must have been there. The only time pre union days that a band worth watching was on in Wigan.
Replied: 8th Sep 2020 at 19:54
Sadly I didn't see Quintessence. I started work at 15 in 1969 and although I was always persuaded by 'underground' music in its various guises (folk, jazz, rock, pog, etc.) it was probably 71 before I really got into the big gig scene. This was due to having an obsession with football (until a bad injury stopped me playing in 70) and running a disco with John Mather - the guy who later owned Allsorts Discount Store at the Saddle.
However, getting back to real music, I was too young to see the Stones and Beatles at the Ritz Cinema in the sixties... but later in the early 70s the cinema opened its doors to ELP, King Crimson, Curved Air and T-Rex. The latter played a great set as they had lots of fans (including me) from their Tyranasaurus Rex days. The day before King Crimson played, I was in the market hotel when a guy who looked a bit like me with really long hair and a beard came in with his girlfriend. He asked if he could share my table and I obliged... then he tuned his guitar and played/sang Hey Joe, and few more great songs. He was Keith Christmas who supported King Crimson.
Replied: 23rd Sep 2020 at 16:34
JR: I remember the above gigs and attended all four of them.
ELP was a fab show, and I bought both the albums that they were promoting.
King Crimson was another one as they were promoting the album Islands. And I do remember Keith Christmas doing a Robin Hood blues or something.
T Rex, Id rather forget because I never ever rated them.
Curved Air were very interesting, but the poor attendance spoiled the atmosphere slightly. However, Sonja was magnificent.
Great times watching big live bands at the ABC.
Replied: 25th Sep 2020 at 20:05
Last edited by jarvo: 25th Sep 2020 at 20:06:48
Yes, Keith Christmas sang a kind of trad folk about Robin Hood. He had a few taunts directed at him and at one point he said something like “It isn’t easy up here on stage. If you think you can do better, please come up and try it!”
T-Rex became just general catchy pop aimed at kids, which is a shame because I think Marc could have formed a good prog rock band (he played Elemental Child at the ABC and you wouldn’t have thought it was T-Rex). My liking for Marc Bolan was when he formed Tyrannosaurus Rex with Steve Peregrine Took and later Mickey Finn. Some good and unusual takes on Folk and Blues – very ‘underground’.
The Curved Air gig was good in respect of the support artists – Gary Moore Band (incredible) and Nick Pickett. Nick was formerly with the John Drummer Blues Band. Peter Green (of Fleetwood Mac) was a fan and helped Nick to record an album. After the Curved Air gig, my mate Custer got talking to Nick and he stayed overnight at Custer’s house – sleeping on the couch.
I was into beat and underground music in the 60s when still at school; subsequently schoolmates thought I was weird. As a young kid I was listening to Pretty Things, Manfred Man, Kinks, Stones, Animals, Arthur Brown, etc. rather than cheesy pop. When I started work at 15 a workmate introduced me to Cream and Floyd; at last someone who was on my wavelength!!!
A highlight of my younger life (18) was the Bickershaw Festival – no curfew, no sleep for 3 days. Wet, filthy, hungry (no money to buy food)… incredible music and alternative theatre.
Wigan has had some great acts… but I must admit I watched most bands at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, followed by Preston Guild Hall then Liverpool Empire (and Stadium)…
Replied: 26th Sep 2020 at 17:39
Yes, JR, Nick did stay at Custer's house, I remember it well.
Bickershaw was an experience, but we ran out of food and cigarettes and came home early on Sunday morning. Sadly, we missed the Dead.
Not much good stuff these days, but I am going to London to watch Van Morrison in eight weeks time. Hopefully this Covid shite may have done one by then.
Replied: 27th Sep 2020 at 12:28
I didn't get to see the bands at the ABC but did enjoy the music scene in the early 1970's.
Wigan at that time had a large hippie contingent and I remember the Market and Park Hotels, and especially the Student's Union Club at Swinley.
The people I hung out with were big T.Rex fans and we went to see them at the Lancaster University Great Hall in the summer of 1971 - the first part of the set was acoustic followed by much of A Beard Of Stars, which was my favourite.
My first festival was Weeley in August 1971 and that was a terrific line up with the Groundhogs (Cherry Red still on my playlist), Rory Gallagher, T.Rex, the Faces, BJH, Lindisfarne, Al Stewart, etc.
My second, and final, festival was Bickershaw. Watching clips on YouTube brings back wonderful memories.
Yes, magical days.
Replied: 27th Sep 2020 at 13:59
I wasn’t a big fan of Grateful Dead and left just before they took stage. I’d have watched them anyway but was finding it difficult to stay awake.
Never seen Van Morrison, Jarvo – but what a great entertainer. Saw Joe Cocker in London back in 72. He was drunk and terrible unfortunately. But Patto and Jerry Lochran the supports were worth the expense.
Some good names there Axcroft – Rory Gallagher was my blues hero and I watched him 14 times. Got all his stuff including bootleg tapes. Watched him at the Liverpool Stadium and such was the reputation of that place that on entering the toilets I was subjected to a Hells Angel ritual where they pushed me to the floor, pinned me down, pissed on me then dunked my head in a bowl of water just until I inhaled water and then coughed it out for a minute or two. Nice chaps though – they all shook my hand for being a good sport!
In my older days (almost 67 now) I have gone backwards in time to old blues, such as Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller, Reverend Gary Davies, etc. But my great desire is for the late sixties/early seventies underground – good stuff coming out of Germany back then, but the Liverpool Scene were brilliant and included the brilliant poet, Adrian Henry.
There were good local bands in Wigan; saw a couple at the former Carlton Cinema at Pem – I think it was called the Sportsman Club before it became a bingo hall – and then a cinema again (Unit 4, which actually only had 3 units!).
A good local band, Currency, did a great version of The Nice’s ‘America’ at the casino (mabe 1970?). I believe they were banned for performing that rendition after being warned beforehand.
Some good fairly local bands included Stoned Rose, Rhino, Gravy Train and Greasy Bear.
Replied: 27th Sep 2020 at 16:03
Although I went to see Quintessence at Southport Floral Hall with front row seats, it was a great spectacle, but I just didn't get them at all - a bit of a fad that soon died out.
At around the same period I went to see Groundhogs, at the same venue, and they were amazing.
I didn't really get the rawer blues either, not that accessible to my more mundane musical palette!
Some great posts on this thread, bringing back memories!
Replied: 27th Sep 2020 at 22:31
Last edited by Axcroft: 28th Sep 2020 at 14:55:36
I saw many bands during the early seventies right up to the eighties.
Seeing the Beach Boys (without Brian) at the Empire in May 1972 was a memorable one. They were promoting 'So Tough' and had new members Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar on board.
They played stuff from 'Surf's Up' and 'So Tough' plus all the hits. The highlight however, was Dennis Wilson singing 'Cuddle Up' alone on the piano; he brought the house down.
Wonderful evening that was.
Replied: 28th Sep 2020 at 18:39
Groundhogs were a good band - Tony McPhee once played a set with Rory Gallagher. Never got to see the Beach Boys, but they were talented musicians.
There was a good scene in Wigan but I must admit I saw most bands at Manchester Free Trade Hall. At one point I was there nearly every week watching the lesser famous bands such as Home, Jo'burg Hawk, Capability Brown, etc. I saw Nazareth there at the height of their fame.
I don't know how many remember Queen supporting Mott The Hoople on tour - saw them at Preston Guild Hall.
The FAG at Newtown British Legion had a few good bands, Caravan, Budgie, etc.
Replied: 28th Sep 2020 at 19:33
My first big gig was watching Strawbs on their 'Grave New World' tour in early 1972, that was at the Floral Hall Southport. I saw Gentle Giant, Nazareth, Mungo Jerry, and Status Quo there as well.
Quo were re-emerging after years out of the spotlight and released that wonderful album, 'Dog Of Two Head'. The concert was altered half-way through due to the three day week power cuts, but they set up emergency lighting and carried on playing raw acoustic - it was fabulous.
Another notable gig was watching Genesis at the Free Trade Hall, 1973, and perhaps most notable of all, Pink Floyd playing their very early version of Dark Side in February 1972, also in Manchester.
We were blessed in those days with such wonderful music and with bands that could play a bit.
More memories, please.
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 07:18
I saw Pink Floyd in a church hall somewhere in Torquay...I was a Royal Navy apprentice at Torpoint and me and a pal went there for a weekend...we came out of the model village that afternoon and saw a poster advertising the gig at 7.30 that evening,so we found the place and got in for 3/6d...magic
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 09:08
Wow, brill, Roy.
Syd must have been with them then.
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 10:31
Wow, getting hard to keep up with comments coming in fast.
The Strawbs were a good band; I have an early album when Sandy Denny was with them. Gentle Giant were a prog take on chamber music… very clever’.
I saw Genesis twice in their early days –really good stuff, but they became more commercial pop after Peter Gabriel left.
Never seen Pink Floyd unfortunately but they are one of my favourite bands. Whenever I go to London and see Battersea Power Station I’m always reminded of the ‘Animals’ album. My fav Floyd album.
Gong at Liverpool Stadium – incredible.
As for the Casino – String Driven Thing were great. I remember this old guy collecting glasses. He paused to watched the violin solo and was mesmerised. Actually he was probably younger than I am now! Another Casino memorable night was Sassafras. I can’t believe they never really made it big. ‘Expecting Company’ is one of my all time great albums.
Moving out of Wigan there was a scene at Geraldo’s in St Helens for a short while.
In 1972 I went to the Isle of Man for a weeks holiday. As I walked with my case to the b&b I saw a poster advertising Atomic Rooster at the Palace Lido – fantastic night.
And lastly… does anyone remember the Clitheroe Festival in the castle grounds? Can’t remember all the bands but here’s 3 – Stackridge, Fumble, Quiver. The council put late buses on to Preston train station because they wanted us out of town fast! Typically it rained a lot that day!
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 17:53
Great stuFf. JR.
Anyone go to watch Fairport and Steeleye Span on Ainsdale beach in summer 1971?
Both had classic line-ups.
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 19:07
I remember Fairport Convention playing on Ainsdale Beach back in 1971. Sadly I’d spent my wage allowance for the week and couldn’t afford the train fare. I remember Steeleye Span playing at Rivington, but I believe it was just for a TV video.
Bolton had a mini festival in one of the parks in 1971 or 72. Just local bands but an excellent band called Iron Maiden (not THE Iron Maiden) played. They were later at the FAG at the Newtown British Legion. Good drummer who was also the singer. If I remember, they did a great version of Spirit’s ‘Fresh Garbage’.
Does anyone remember the local gig at Red Rock on the old railway cutting in 74? It had a make-shift stage and the electricity was provided by a series of extensions fitted together and plugged into a 13amp socket in one of the cottages on the canal. Just put together by some of the Market Hotel crowd. I think Malc MacKinder might have been the brainchild behind it.
I had an idea in 76 to do something similar at the Scotsman’s Flash, mainly acoustic but also with a generator should anyone wish to bring an amp. Quite a few mates were in favour of this, but probably because they were drunk… the enthusiasm fizzled out a couple of weeks later. I’d have asked Bob Flight to play there (remember him?). He was pretty good on acoustic and a good voice too.
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 19:58
Glad to see my original message got peoples' memories going. Good to read and remember such happy times,especially in these dark days.went to watch Tyrannosaurus Rex at magic village when they were inspiring,not covered in glitter.
I went to free trade hall to watch,Jethro Tull,procol harum and tir na nog on same bill.have to say procol harum blew Tull away.missed last train back and had to sleep on the station platform.what a night!! Also remember bickershaw,well some of it.talked to jerry garcia ,I think,
Don't think i could do any of that now.my sons have taken on the mantle and go all over the place to watch metal bands. To everyone who is following and enjoying these memories,good luck and keep safe.xxx
Replied: 29th Sep 2020 at 20:26
Thanks for starting this conversation Magic Tree. It's great to reminisce with people who were there. By the way, the Fairport Convention gig on Ainsdale beach is on youtube.
The last gig I saw in Wigan was quite a few years ago - Arthur Brown at the Mill at the Pier. My son Dylan organised it when he was a music promoter. Ed Tudor Pole was support. The both of them came to my house for their tea. My wife was worried sick having to cook for famous musicians.
Replied: 30th Sep 2020 at 15:13
I remember seeing a couple of bands at the Casino early seventies
Wilco Johnson and a band called Snafu. Seen a load of big names over the years, was at Bickershaw Buxton and Reading festivals. Two I never saw but would have liked to was Pink Floyd and Hendrix. Happy days.
Replied: 30th Sep 2020 at 16:57
I remember Snafu; very good band. I think guitarist Micky Moody was formerly with Juicy Lucy, another good band. Andy Pyle was in Juicy Lucy but was also in 2 other great bands, Blodwyn Pig and Savoy Brown. The latter wrote 'Train to Nowhere' - one of my favourite tracks on the 'Blue Matter' album. A fairly local band called Rhino did a great version of it. If I remember correctly, Rhino once played at the Students Union club.
Replied: 30th Sep 2020 at 19:40
JR that is some impressive recollection of the 70's local music scene that you have. You should incorporate this in one of your upcoming books?
Replied: 30th Sep 2020 at 21:47
Thanks Axcroft; I’ll certainly think about that in a future book. I was hoping to publish my book of poetry today seeing as it’s National Poetry Day, but there’s just one poem to finish and I’ve been struggling with it. Perhaps I might base a second poetry book on music. I already have notes from Bickershaw Fest as a possible epic!
Jarvo, I don’t recall seeing Jab Jab but remember that they were from Huddersfield. Good band and don’t know why they never got a record deal. I think it was West Indian roots and possibly based on the devil carnival character (similar to the New Orleans folklore, voodoo, etc.). There were quite a lot of Caribbeans came to live in Worsley Mesnes in the mid 70s. When I married, I lived in the high rise flats and there was a bit of a community around there. Errol Brown must have had friends there; he was in the Freemasons Arms at Goose Green one day, stood at the bar with a bottle of champagne. You couldn’t get a glass of wine in those days let alone a bottle of champers! Apparently Jack the landlord knew a few celebrities.
Replied: 1st Oct 2020 at 16:10
And then there are gigs that you wished you had gone to:
Led Zeppelin early 1971, Manchester Free Trade Hall:
I had the chance of buying a ticket off Kenny Greenhall, but strangely declined it. That cost me several years of stupidly ignoring them and only discovering their fabulous worth in the early nineties onwards (can you believe it?) through my daughter buying Led Zep3. Ah well, got there in the end, but regret not taking Kenny's offer up.
Free, late summer 1972, Manchester Free Trade Hall:
This should have happened. We had tickets, Mick Moss and I, and turned up...Only to find a sign outside that read: 'Kossoff Injured - Cancelled'. Whether anyone believed that was a talking point at the time, but we returned to Wigan disgruntled. A night in the Beer Keller was no consolation. Time would reveal that Paul Kossoff was 'injured', but not in the physical sense; the real reason for his absence would cost him his young life.
Maybe there are other bands that I missed, but these two would have been on any young bucket list at the time.
More please. This is a great thread.
Replied: 2nd Oct 2020 at 08:45
Last edited by jarvo: 2nd Oct 2020 at 08:47:00
I missed out on tickets for Led Zep in 72 and again in early 73 at the Liverpool Empire. However, Frank Smith went to the box office a couple of days before the gig and bought 11 returned tickets! So I got to see them. Never managed to watch Free. As for going to gigs to find they were cancelled – Brian Eno at the Free Trade Hall and Lou Reed at the Rainbow Theatre, London – very disappointing, especially travelling to London on the midnight bus!
Talking of the Bier Keller, Jarvo…
The hippy scene in Wigan was chiefly at the Market Hotel; good landlord, Colin Cooke. But the Park Hotel had a scene there too. Landlady Mrs Brown was very strict and operated a waitress service. Remember the wood panelled booths and bells to get a waitress’s attention? I believe Mrs Brown used to be a Bluebell Girl in London (they were famous dancers).
The Students Union Club (or Tech Club) was the big night out for music. I think it was Malc MacKinder who also got a bit of a scene going at the Bier Keller; but just local bands. For a short while there was also a good heavy disco in the basement of the Grand Hotel… it wasn’t so grand by then! And then of course there was the upstairs room in the Swan and Railway.
I’m not sure when it all fizzled away, but the John Bull sort of retained many aficionados. I guess the Indi scene is the nearest modern equivalent.
Replied: 2nd Oct 2020 at 16:43
Talking of local bands, I'll always remember being roadie for Copper Kettle at Jenkinson's in Blackpool. It happened by chance. Mick Moss and I were in the audience one night in late 1972, Mick, knowing everyone and everybody, got talking to Jimmy Dyke after the end of their set and he asked us did we want a lift home in the van. We jumped at the opportunity and duly helped clear the gear from the stage. Felt great being a young 18 year old clearing the stage and helping out.
Incidentally, Jenkinson's was the place were Smokie played a summer season the same year before they broke through in the summer of 1975.
As for Copper Kettle? Not a band you'd link with Bickershaw or the Fag, but a talented, tight, and interesting bunch of seasoned musicians that played some good stuff and were always value for money.
And then there was Rainbow Cottage...
Replied: 4th Oct 2020 at 12:12
Jarvo, I do remember Copper Kettle and Rainbow Cottage who were talented musicians. Yes, must have been a good feeling for you becoming involved in lugging gear and getting a lift as a youngster. My wife says she knew Rainbow Cottage very well – she was a popular girl in the day so I guess she knew more local celebrities too!
I unwittingly became roadie for Acker Bilk at Mill at the Pier. Long story for another time, but Acker asked me where the nearest pub was. I told him the Swan and Railway. When he came back to the dressing room the band left and I was chatting to them. They told me he always wanted to be alone before a gig and drink a bottle of wine because he had stage fright!!! Not my type of music but he was brilliant.
As for bands local to Wigan, there were many – some good and many terrible. Most just played charts stuff and not that well. I think the 2 locals bands that stood out as different were ‘Colonel Bagshot’s Incredible Bucket Band’ and ‘Ned Pringe’. The singer in Ned Pringe was really good – sang a bit like Joe Cocker and looked a bit like him too. They could play both rock and pop. I remember them playing a good rock set at the Swan and Railway. They also played at St Cuthbert’s Club in Pem, where I was DJ (when I was 16/17), but more pop than rock. He had Tom Jones off to a tee though. Rhino played at the club and after 20 minutes of rock the bouncer got hold of me and said “Are these lads on drugs because this music is crap, what’s it all about?!” He told me to get them to play charts stuff or he’d pull the plug. They tried their best but didn’t know the words to songs like ‘No Matter What’, so made them up! I got a bollocking for recommending them. Good job I didn’t ask Stoned Rose to play!!! Another band at the club was ‘Rue and the Rockets’ from somewhere on the borders and were a bit rock based but liked doing Shadows numbers and other 60s stuff. They mainly played in Dumfriesshire and around Berwick way. They told me they could get me some good DJ-ing stints in Scotland but I’d have to move there because they were long hours in private unlicensed clubs. I had good think about it, but declined in the end. I often wonder where it might have led to - but I've done OK for myself albeit not in the music industry. If my memory serves me right, I believe Rue started in the early sixties and are still performing today.
Replied: 4th Oct 2020 at 17:03
As previously mentioned, one of my favourite bands from the Casino rock nights was Sassafras. Just watched on YouTube a recent gig in Cardiff. Absolutely brilliant and almost perfecting the studio version. They still have it despite being in their twighlight years.
Replied: 10th Oct 2020 at 19:01
I have another memory of Bickershaw, JR.
On the Saturday afternoon when we had the best of the weather, the DJ, who played some fine records, played a new single by Jim Capaldi - it was 'Eve'.
Apparently, backstage at the time were Stevie Winwood, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. The DJ mentioned this, and jokingly said: 'All we need now is for Jim Capaldi to show up and we've got Traffic'.
Replied: 12th Oct 2020 at 11:08
Wow, I didn't hear that at the time Jarvo, but what an amazing story. If my memory serves me right I saw a heavily pregnant girl there and later heard she'd had her baby delivered.i wonder who that kid is.
Replied: 12th Oct 2020 at 19:28
Apart from gigs there was also the delight in buying a new album (vinyl LP) or exploring music that you may have missed.
As for record shops, there were many in Wigan but my favourites were (in order) Pemberton Record shop, Roy Hurst (in the indoor market) and the one in the basement of Debenhams (probably Pendlebury back then). At the latter I spent so much time there that people thought I worked there and asked me for advice. I bought Tubular Bells from Roy; he didn’t have it but I gave him ten bob as deposit – no receipt those days, just trust. Pem record shop had a booth to listen to what you proposed to buy (and many other shops too). What has happened to all this – we have so called progressed but we’ve left a lot of quality experiences behind.
As a young DJ I had access to promotional album posters. I wish I’d kept them all but unfortunately I only have one left which promotes a various artists album called ‘Heads and Tails’ – I would like the album but so expensive on vinyl now. When the American scene began to explode in Britain we had to go to a shop down a ginnel in Manchester centre. You could park the van on the main road in those days!
I got to point where I couldn’t play music I didn’t like. There was a lot of animosity with my fellow DJ (long term mate since infant school) and I quit. To this day he hasn’t compensated me for the equipment which he continued to use. So, John – if you are reading this, it would be nice to be rewarded. Actually, that’s a bit tongue in cheek… it gave me the opportunity to escape and fully engage with the music I really loved, and what a journey it has been!
Replied: 13th Oct 2020 at 18:00
Pem record shop was always good, but I cannot remember any booths in there; the lady that served would just play your record there and then, if you requested it.
My favourite place was downstairs in Bullough's. Everybody who was everybody shopped there. The girl who managed it had black curly hair and big eyes and was the most helpful person on earth. If something had been released you'd get it the same day at Bullough's.
Pendlebury's was always good and they did have booths in there.
Those were the days: no internet or mobile big brother, just great music, privacy, and a spirit that has now sadly left this planet. Although on a personal level, the pretty spirit that haunted me as a youth, is now happily by my side.
Everything comes to he who waits.
Replied: 14th Oct 2020 at 08:10
I bought Bumpers lp from bulloughs.it was a compilation album of Island bands, spooky tooth,Mott the hoople,fotheringay,
etc what an album.I walked to mesnes park to meet my mates in the cafe and we looked at it like it was the crown jewels (29/11 actually)I recently bought another compilation nice enough to eat, king crimson,spooky tooth,traffic .it was a bit more than 29/11 but worth it.
loved to share the memories of good bands and people. We need more of this. Xx
Replied: 14th Oct 2020 at 18:58
Magic tree: I too have Bumpers. Released in the summer of 1970, it introduced me to many bands I'd never heard of.
Island Records was the the bees knees in those days.
Replied: 14th Oct 2020 at 23:03
Have to admit though it was the death knell for the Incredible String Band when the moved from Electra to Island....even the album cover designs went down hill....I still have the albums without the vinyls though....my favourite The 5000 spirits or the layers of the onion
Replied: 15th Oct 2020 at 08:27
Jarvo. I stand corrected, they just played the record for you at Pem as you rightly pointed out.
I never bought Bumpers, but I have other compilations: FillYour Head With Rock, Wowie Zowie World of Progressive Music, The Rock Machine Turns You On, Age of Atlantic, etc.
Remember the record stall in Woolworths? When Decca took over Deram, Woolworths had a job lot of old Deram LPs for 10 bob each. These included East of Eden, Deviants, William R Strickland, Martha Valez, Touch, etc. Most of them were mono.
Roylew, I love Incredible String Band - unique!
Replied: 15th Oct 2020 at 09:24
Another good place to pick up good records was outside the Market Hall on a Saturday morning.
They would require the plastic centre (supplied) and away you went. I picked up several ex top twenty records at very low prices from here on many a summer Saturday morning.
Replied: 15th Oct 2020 at 14:58
My favourite group from the Swinley years, by far, was Barclay James Harvest. Did they appear twice after a stereo sound problem on the first occasion?
A great link there to the Wigan Record outlets! I purchased mostly from Roy Hurst or Bulloughs, but am having a memory block on Pendlebury's (was it lower ground floor, immediately to the right of the stairwell / lift doors?)
I didn't go for any of the samplers, but did buy Relics,as a "cut price" introduction to Pink Floyd. I also used to buy from a store that opened up in a part of Wallpaper Supplies, and I think they had a line in used or nearly new stock? Record fairs were a magnet and I also used to visit the Vinyl Exchange in Manchester.
I wish now that I had kept my collection!
Replied: 15th Oct 2020 at 18:54
I bought many singles from the outside market stall. They occasionally had bootleg albums. Relics is a great album that was really cheap to buy. I bought 2 and sent one to a young American Guy I met in Lucerne. He came over to stay with us for a few days and we took him to the Market and Casino.
Charity shops are catching onto the price of collectable vinyl. Oxfam prices are dearer than anywhere.
I used to love getting the early Saturday morning train to Manchester and spending an hour in Rare Records. After that it was a quick trip to the underground market to buy clothes, beads, etc from the Indian stall. It was another world back then.
Replied: 15th Oct 2020 at 19:47
I bought Relics too and a couple of Decca/Deram 'World Of' albums.
Notably, The World Of Cat Stevens and The World Of Hits.
Pendleburys was on the first floor and to your right. Great atmosphere in there.
Replied: 15th Oct 2020 at 22:53
My favourite Deram LP has always been 'William R Strickland is Only The Name'. A very imaginative American singer/songwriter. When it was my 60th birthday my son gave me a CD. He had been in touch with William R Strickland and he had got him to write and record a personal song for me. What a present!
Replied: 16th Oct 2020 at 09:45
Some fine Tyrannosaurus Rex albums mentioned, I still have and treasure all mine which are on the Regal Zonophone label. The album art by George Underwood on My People Were Fair... are unmistakably Bolan and very eye catching. Then onto Electric Warrior a good album, Bolan had stabled his unicorns shaved his Beard of Stars and hung up his hippy jacket. Bolan had arrived at the place he wanted to be.
Good and happy times sadly missed. Great thread.
Replied: 16th Oct 2020 at 10:09
JR: That is brill.
The Decca/Deram label had some fine artists including Savoy Brown and Ten Years After.
One band that I saw during this time was Gentle Giant in 1972. They were awesome. The three Schulman brothers played about twenty instruments between them, and their songs were clever, melodic and innovative.
Replied: 16th Oct 2020 at 12:06
Terry – I didn’t buy any of the Tyrannosaurus Rex albums but have some early stuff on cassette tape. It’s a bit annoying that cars only have a CD slot these days! Perhaps they’ll soon have vinyl slots! Also his early glam rock singles have some great B sides. I know he wanted and got fame but I thought he had so much more to offer as an ‘underground’ artist – but that’s probably me just being selfish.
Jarvo – I bought Gentle Giant’s ‘Free Hand’ from the little outside market stall in Manchester near Affleck’s for 2 quid. It is classical Chamber Music given a progressive twist. As for Deram, Moody Blues were on the label (Days of Future Passed), but Johnny Almond too (Johnny Almond Music Machine – Patent Pending). I could never manage to get the vinyl but have it on CD now. He was a young guy and music genius who I compare to Mike Oldfield regarding age and early talent.
John Mayall on Decca – Bare Wires is an incredible haunting song. John lived in a tree house at one time!
This is a great thread and the nostalgia here is very refreshing.
Replied: 16th Oct 2020 at 12:45
I once spent an evening at Custer's many moons ago.
As well as smoking endless Embassy Gold cigarettes, some fine music was played including Soft Machine, but I can't remember the album title.
One track was 'The Moon In June'.
Also King Crimson's 'In The Court Of King Crimson', was given a spin.
Enjoyable evening it was too and his Mam supplied the endless coffee.
Happy days...About 1972.
Replied: 16th Oct 2020 at 15:35
Jarvo, I'm sure we may have crossed paths at some point. I met Custer in 71 and was at his house on many occasions; sometimes just the 2 of us listening to Zappa or the bands you have highlighted and much more. He also had several people round and there seemed to be a steady turnover. Toshack was always there and a guy called Tex for a while. Then there was 'Little John' who was projectionist at the Ritz. Custer was (and still is) a character; when he came to my house he always called my mam 'kid'!
Replied: 16th Oct 2020 at 22:53
Known Tony since being a kid, JR, and his sisters. I lived in the street facing them.
I do remember a Tex, but his surname escapes me. Tony would always walk past our house on a Sunday morning on his way to and from his Mam's when he moved away, usually with a book in his hand, and reading it. Sadly, he lost his partner Gwen, only last year I think. I haven't seen him as regularly since then.
He once told me that he was writing a novel about a man whose teeth became a keyboard. Don't know if he completed it, but he was well capable of doing so. His love of films and film making is famous. How he never got spotted or became a big name is a mystery. Tony has talent and is a real character, and sadly this town is short of more characters like him in these horrible times.
We may have crossed paths JR, and you can always message me via Ron if you so desire.
This is a lovely thread and a welcome change to the dross on the main page, with the exception of my poetry corner, of course, which you are very welcome to contribute to.
Replied: 17th Oct 2020 at 05:54
I think Tex may have been called Terry Conway or something like that. I remember Custer telling me about the novel he was writing. I think it was based in the future in Scholes and he had included a female character who had 5 breasts! He introduced me to a lot of music. Yes, I spoke to him just after his wife had died and he was a bit subdued; not his normal self. I worked with a guy who lived near his mam - Joe Reeves. Joe was a big Beatles fan and after he had collected everything by them, he was at a loss of where to go next. He never really understood my music, such as Van der Graf Generator and the like, so I suggested Moody Blues who weren't prog rock or underground but quite inventive. Joe took my advice and started to buy their albums.
Custer was a good artist too, which appealed to me, as I was selling my art at the time. I have made reference to Custer in my book - 'Percy Thrower Forgives the Dalek'. I must tell him the next time I see him.
I'll submit a sample of poetry - do I need to contact Ron? I'll also be in touch privately through Ron.
Replied: 17th Oct 2020 at 17:15
I have 5000 spirits on vinyl,favourite must be chinese white. I met Custer on a train years ago. He was working on a building site in thatto heath.I knew him immediately,chatting with him was a pleasure.Years apart really do not matter. I must know you JR,Jarvo and Axcroft.,since you mention names of places,people and bands that I know.it rolls back the years.keep up the good work. Xx
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 09:57
JR. Elemental Child was at the Marc transitional point from hippy to rock star, after the few lessons from Clapton on electric guitar Bolan proved he could hold his own with the rest, although this wavered a bit later due to his posturing and posing on stage. His wah wah solo on Lofty Skies is remarkable and a favourite piece of mine. There is an album/CD called Beltane the songs of Bolan from this period and sang by Catherine Lambert with The Lore Liege Ensemble, a medieval touch, worth a listen if you get the chance. Youtube have most of them I think.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 12:17
Last edited by TerryW: 18th Oct 2020 at 12:25:16
A Beard Of Stars
Just a sample of Bolan's guitar playing, pretty good I think.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 12:32
Wow, so much to reflect on here. 5000 Spirits, etc. I used to work with a very educated older guy who was into classical music, but my mate introduced him to Incredible String Band... and he was hooked!
I remember seeing Tyrannosaurus Rex's 'Unicorn' in the window of Pem record shop... and was always memorised by it. I have a very early tape of Marc Bolan featuring Mustang Ford, Cat Black, You Scare Me To Death, etc. I was told that Malc MacKinder met Bolan and being a decent modern artist created a work in oil paint for him.
Some other names from the hippy scene I knew back them - Merlin (from Pem or Orrell), Walt Tolley, Stan Mapson (good friend), Daffy (cracked up and don't know what happened to him), Jolly Jim the Postman (he eventually got a master's degree - still see him in town), Mad Jack the Sailor (haven't seen him for years). What a time to belong to!!!
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 17:58
I'm sure Malc MacKinder lived in what was called the Hippy House by the neighbours in the Ince area years ago, not sure about the Bolan on oil bit but it sounds good. A while ago I remember reading that someone with the same name was awarded the Brain of Bolton by the quiz league.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 18:38
My mates were Dave Gordon (Daffy - we were at Wigan Tech together doing A levels), Walt (Sheriff) Tolley and Ray (bass guitar player and massive Cream fan). I last saw Daffy about 5/6 years ago at Beech Hill post office and he was fine and in good spirits and looking well. I bumped into Walter at Asda about 15 years ago as he was loading his VW Camper Van and he was still the same.
I knew 2 Malcs, both who went to Wigan Art School - Was Malc Mackinder also known as big Malc? We met up with big Malc was at the T.Rex Lancaster gig.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 18:57
TerryW, just looked at the picture in the BN and I think that could be the big Malc that I knew.
I recall Malc being influenced by the Doors and other American bands and going nutty over Alice Cooper's "School's Out".
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 19:14
Last edited by Axcroft: 20th Oct 2020 at 09:39:59
Malc McKinder who I knew arranged bands for the FAG. His brother (another mate) was Paul who I believe died. Walt 'the Sherriff' sadly died too of heroin I am told. I haven't seen daffy since 1974 but he didn't make any sense and was convinced that he was from Venus and was sent here to earth on a mission. I guess he might have got his head together later. Axcroft, Is Ray actually Raymond Greenough? I worked with Ray when I began work as a 15 year old in 1969. He took me to his house and introduced me to 'White Room' by Cream - that got me hooked. Ray and I set up an artist studio in his parents' spare room. I had a bad injury and was off work a while but Ray got me to churn out the art and was good at selling it. I think he went into photography and made a career of it. That band with if I remember (I tagged along and contributed a bit) was Ray, Walt, Daffy... and a guy called Alan (drummer) whose surname I can't remember. He married Doris Eccleston who lived near Ray.
All these guys were into seriously good music and regular attendees at the Wigan venues.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 19:49
JR, we may have met up at some point in those earlier days.
It was Ray Greenough - White Room was his song - he would raise the stylus and say - "now let's listen to that chord progression again!"
As a group - myself, Walt, Dave and Ray, Pete (Pey) - went to Weeley, Bickershaw and Swinley.
Walt was a great, so personable, guy, and I did not know that he had passed.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 20:15
Last edited by Axcroft: 18th Oct 2020 at 20:16:54
Ray was a great mate, sometimes temperamental but we got on really well. Walt lived close to me at Worsley Hall back then. He made everyone laugh- great humour.
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 20:27
JR, the one and the same Ray and Walt that I knew!
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 20:35
Wow, in the words of the title of Ray's precious 'White Room' B side... 'Those Were The Days!
Replied: 18th Oct 2020 at 21:08
Alan Bretherton, drummer?
Replied: 19th Oct 2020 at 12:03
I was heavily into music late 60s early 70s, what got me hooked was the first time I heard Clapton's guitar playing on Strange Brew. I was in the pub and one of my mates put it on the juke box, he went on to tell me about Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. I had to hear more so bought an LP which just happened to have Crossroads sung live by Eric, it was brilliant music.
I seem to remember seeing Barclay James Harvest at the students Union club in Coppull Lane as well. Then again I maybe wrong about that one.
Replied: 19th Oct 2020 at 13:15
Crossroads by Clapton is brilliant. I think local band Rhino had it on their usual set. BJH did play the Students Union, may have been twice. I remember chatting to their sound technician.
As for Ray's band, I only knew the drummer as Alan - never knew his surname. Long straight black hair and quite handsome.
Ray had a cousin called Mike Hill who was also into good music. I remember him being into Floyd and Hawkwind and he too was an influence on me.
Replied: 19th Oct 2020 at 13:42
Custer had a band, albeit briefly, in the mid sixties. It and Them was a four piece that included Alan Gough, Jem Baggerly, Sammy and Custer.
It was short-lived because none of them could play or sing. Custer did spoken word and relied on theatrics; the rest of them dabbled with old guitars.
It also became apparent that another band from Belfast with a certain Ivan Morrison at the helm got there first.
It and Them threw in the towel. The rest is history.
Replied: 19th Oct 2020 at 18:37
Sad to hear about Walt.I remember being in his front room with curtains closed,with some others whose names escape me listening to Led Zep.The lights went out,music stopped and Malc Macs ( who always reminded me of john b Sebastian) voice came out of the
darkness " I've blacked out to Led Zep" Walt said "has anybody got money for the meter?" It makes me laugh whenever I think of it. Walt was one of the gentlest blokes I've met. We need more folk like him to cheer us up. Xx
Replied: 19th Oct 2020 at 20:58
Jarvo, I expect Custer's band was trying to emulate Liverpool Scene, a very early underground band that featured poet Adrian Henry with his spoken word. Great band. Is Sammmy the Sammy with long blonde hair? If so, I've seen him a few times recently. He walks with 2 sticks now.
Magic tree, yes, Malc did look like John Sebastian. Walt reminded me a bit of Mike Patto. I saw Patto in London back in 72.
Replied: 20th Oct 2020 at 10:29
When I saw Walt was a bit like Mike Mike Patto, he didn't particularly look like him but there was just something that reminded me.
Replied: 20th Oct 2020 at 10:32
JR: Yes, that's Sammy. Another character who lived around the corner from Custer.
And you're correct about Tex Conway; I think he came from the White Houses many moons ago.
Some great summers back then when England won the World Cup. I don't know if you remember Deli Pyke? I used to mate with his twin brothers in Chapel St. I think he may have been in the same year as Malc Mackinder at the Grammar School.
We used to go camping on Billinge Hill in the summers of '67 and '68. Best days of my young life listening to Hendrix doing All Along The Watchtower around the campfire.
Replied: 20th Oct 2020 at 10:38
Jarvo, I dont remember Deli Pyke, but as for camping I did lots locally and once slept under the stars one cold easter in the plantation with Custer and Toshak.
Summer of 66 when England won the world cup I was camping in Wales. No TV to watch so we listened to the match on radio. I was into the beat scene back then... Animals, Pretty Things, etc.
Replied: 20th Oct 2020 at 18:27
Getting back to the Casino Rock night, I remember a few more names including Nutz and Trapeze, both good enough to inspire me to buy their albums. Edgar Broughton Band were terrible so I didn't bother pursuing their career. Before, in between and after bands, Mick Rawston provided the music on his decks at the corner of the stage. The problem with this in some instances was if a large group of people were head-banging on the suspended flexible dance floor… which caused the records to jump. He would furiously try to deter people from ‘dancing’.
Mick was often at Bob Flight’s flat at Marsh Green. Bob reminded me of Cat Stevens with his long curly black hair. I worked with him for a while at the Parks Department and we had some good times. Like me, he was a half decent artist and interested in the art world, so the art and music kept us in dialogue for hours. None of us inspiring artists ever made anything of it… apart from Bryan Talbot, who is now world famous!
Replied: 22nd Oct 2020 at 16:17
I remember Trapeze because they were based in the midlands originally.
I bought their single Send Me No More Letters in early 1970.
Talking of gigs, the one I most remember was the Strawbs at the Floral Hall in February 1972. I went with Dave Asp and Borki and we got deliberately drunk before the gig. It didn't alter our appreciation of the great music they played that night, but actually enhanced it.
After the gig we ventured backstage and met them in their dressing room getting autographs; I remember Blue Weaver stayed onstage checking his temperamental mellotron, but gladly signed his autograph.
This was the night Dave met his wife to be, Bren. A good night was had by all, but we missed the last train from Chapel Street Station and slept in a cold railway carriage until dawn.
Replied: 23rd Oct 2020 at 10:32
I too have slept on stations, and in bus shelters and doorways after gigs.
I have a good Strawbs album featuring Sandy Denny. I think young people are now discovering these early excellent examples of alternative music.
Is Borki the Borki that I knew and was at school with - Stephen Borkovitz (not sure about the spelling of the Polish surname). He went to Scot Lane Primary and Gidlow.
Moving on, when I first moved career from shoemaker at Lord and Sharman, Pem to the Parks Department I met Keith Davis who was a few years older and looked like a ‘straight’ – but he was into some seriously good music. We were soon good mates, sharing music and going to gigs. He introduced me to his mates who were also into rock/underground – Jimmy White, Jimmy Parry, Jack (a Scotsman), Dilp and Dave Massey; Dave worked at the parks with me for a while. They all frequented the Market, Park, FAG and Casino. We had a few parties at our high rise flat after I married, and they often lasted until the sun arose. Often people would come back to our flat after the Casino rock night, sometimes for music, sometimes to taste my home brewed beer and wine!
Replied: 23rd Oct 2020 at 15:29
This is such a good thread and I recognised a few names from the past. I'll read it in detail when I can, and will add a comment if I can add something of interest. I had the pleasure of booking the big rock bands at the Casino in the late 70s, and smaller bands at Mr Ms. Good times and great people.
Replied: 29th Nov 2020 at 14:51
Hi MM, you are very welcome here and I'm sure everyone is interested in your involvement at the Casino. Please indulge us old hippies. we are happy to reminisce.
Going back to the Student's Union at the old Swinley Labour Club... I was wondering if anyone remembered the guy who danced naked on stage one night - was it Kenny Neil? I think he might have been inspired by Magic Michael (musician) who famously performed naked and at one support gig (I think he supported Hawkwind) he was booed off stage.
A few more names here for anyone who remembers... Frank Smith, alan Lomax, Tom Spain, Alan Grimes and 'Doctor Bob' - the latter missed his bus one night and decided to steal a vehicle to get home. It was an artic he decided on, was caught and subsequently a spell in prison!
Replied: 30th Nov 2020 at 16:51
Frank Smith. Saints fan.
Replied: 30th Nov 2020 at 22:13
Yes, Frank is a big Saints fan. He worked with me for a while at Lord and Sharman and was groomsman at my wedding. Les Ritchie was best man (if you can remember him).
Replied: 1st Dec 2020 at 14:02
I only remember Frank.
He used to walk up Worsley St every other Friday night at about 9.45pm after he'd caught the bus home from Knowsley Road.
My old mate Jeff Barker would always ask him how the Saints had gone on. Frank always had his red and white scarf on and his match programme in his hand.
Funny enough I can never remember him saying that they'd got beat.
Nice fella, and apparently a wizard at mathematics.
There you go...
Replied: 4th Dec 2020 at 16:55
Great guy Frank. As you say mathemic wizard. He was a computer programmer back when computers were the size of a Sherman tank.
He could work out calculations quicker than I could type on the calculator!
Haven't seen him for quite a few years. Last time I saw him he was working as proof reader for a RL magazine. He told me that they wanted him to write articles but he was happy with proof reading! Much talent but didn't want to use it.
Replied: 6th Dec 2020 at 17:56
Great guy Frank. As you say mathemic wizard. He was a computer programmer back when computers were the size of a Sherman tank.
He could work out calculations quicker than I could type on the calculator!
Haven't seen him for quite a few years. Last time I saw him he was working as proof reader for a RL magazine. He told me that they wanted him to write articles but he was happy with proof reading! Much talent but didn't want to use it.
Replied: 6th Dec 2020 at 18:59
Barry 'Sammy' Davies used to knock around with Custer because he lived just around the corner. It and Them, the band formed by the said four, never really saw the light of day, but I often wonder what may have happened if they had worked on it and had more money.
Custer had a wonderful imagination even in those days and if they had been more musically minded they could have made their mark.
They were heady days in the mid sixties and although most folk were skint, fun was had by one and all.
I'll always remember when North Korea took Portugal to the brink during the 1966 World Cup, Custer, Jem Baggerly, Sammy and Co coming out of his house and chanting 'North Korea...North Korea...'
Still smile about it today.
Replied: 9th Dec 2020 at 15:04
Yes I certainly remember the days when there was little money, much less than people have today and we didn't have food banks back then. Just a bit of trivia on North Korea football team in the 66 world cup who knocked out Italy. Do you remember their captain Pak Doo-Ik and hero. My daughter-in-law who is a professional artist met him in North Korea a couple of years ago and painted his portrait.
I didn't think Custer was very interested in football - perhaps he just liked the thought of the underdog prevailing.
Toshack was into his football like me at the time. I always had a yearning to put together a charity football match back in the day - Hippies n Skinheads!!!
Replied: 9th Dec 2020 at 16:10
You're right, JR, Custer wasn't a sporting man. And it was a fun thing and a bit of a daring wind-up.
I remember another NK footballer: Hang Bong Jin.
Replied: 9th Dec 2020 at 16:53
I have the 66 programme so can relate to many of the teams and players. Dont know if anyone remembers a guy called Rob Gaskell and dont really know if he was a regular at the Wigan hippy scene. He was a good footballer who I played with or against back then, and I saw him in Pem after many years just a few weeks ago. He's a year older that me but still played into his early sixties. Still looks fit and has his trademark long red/blond hair!
Replied: 10th Dec 2020 at 20:29
Rob Gaskell, yes...Although I don't know him personally, he always nods and says hello.
He runs, usually at dawn. Always has a water bottle in his hand.
Replied: 11th Dec 2020 at 08:40
I need to correct you about Frank Smith's 'mathematical wizardry'.
Frank was in the same school year as me at Wigan Grammar School and we caught the same bus to and from Pemberton each day. His ability was an incredible talent in adding together a host of five and six digit numbers instantaneously.
His talent did not extend to mathematics - he had no particular talent for geometry, trigonometry, integral and differential calculus, or any of the other aspects that encompass the generic term of mathematics.
And he was a Saints fan..............
Replied: 11th Dec 2020 at 09:16
Builderboy: But he was a scholar? Yes?
Replied: 11th Dec 2020 at 19:43
"A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly those that develop expertise in an area of study. A scholar may also be an academic, who works as a professor, teacher or researcher at a university or other higher education institution."
On looking at the definition of scholar - no, I am afraid not.
Replied: 12th Dec 2020 at 11:34
Frank was a nice guy; the type who would listen and not necessarily advise, but someone I could confide in. Personally (this is just my perspective) he appeared to have skills and intellect that he would shy away from and always take a a job with little demands. I think he worked at the Vinegar Factory at Goose Green for a while after he departed the shoe factory.
I've only known anyone so laid back and that was someone called Johnny whose last name I can't remember but he looked a little like Francis Rossi back then. He thought watching football on Tv was too energetic and favoured Bowls or cricket (though he said cricket could get a bit too manic at times). Johnny, despite his fascination with the rock/underground scene, got into Frank Sinatra and endeavoured to buy anything and everything Sinatra that was out there!
Oh, we could all write a book between us!!!
Replied: 14th Dec 2020 at 17:45
JR: Think you are right about Frank. He probably never got out of his comfort zone. A lot of guys never did.
Replied: 15th Dec 2020 at 08:38
Yes, I remember some guys with great potential but wasted their knowledge. But I wasted my school years and found out the hard way that I had to get an education in order to get what I wanted out of life. It was a hard trail.
Replied: 15th Dec 2020 at 19:22
Thanks all for posting in this thread, so good to read these recollections.
I am the son of DJ Dave Rawston who unfortunately passed away about 9 years ago now. He spent most of his time travelling around Europe after the casino days with some friends in a painted van with “make wine, not war” written very boldly on the back. A good guitar player and singer himself, when they used to have a breakdown they would busk until they had enough money to repair it and move on. I’ve got some great pictures which I will dig out sometime from the casino and his travelling/busking days.
Thanks for all the posts and information!!
Replied: 1st Apr 2021 at 14:54
I have enjoyed reading this thread, as it is a story of what I have missed.
I DID see the Stones at the Ritz, mid 60's, and went to 'Twisted Wheel' in Manchester. Casino was operating those days, but it was not yet into its 'Northern Soul' era.
But, I left Wigan, mid 1960's. Left the North West.
My music venue became 'UFO' in the days around its move from Tottenham Court Road to the Roundhouse at Camden: a place that has its own distinctive history.
Good to hear about what was going on along the 'path not taken'!
Replied: 2nd Apr 2021 at 21:51
Jason, thank you for your message. I'm sad to hear that your dad is no longer with us. He was a nice guy with a great sense of humour.
Replied: 2nd Apr 2021 at 23:02
Ena. I was just a bit too young to be allowed to see the Stones (and others) at the Ritz.
I think you made a good move as far as music is concerned. I remember the Rising Sun pub in Tottenham Court Road back in the early 70s - still there last time I looked. A big venue was the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park. I saw Joe Cocker there in 72. Finsbury was notorious for gangsters back then. The place has completely changed now.
About 20 years ago I did a bit of relief teaching in Lambeth. I could drive there in 3 and a half hours. The last time I drove to central London (last year) it took 7 hours!
I love London but I explore the hidden gems right off the tourist track!
Replied: 4th Apr 2021 at 10:11
What a fantastic thread! I was mates with Frank, very clever lad! Rob Gaskell is one of my top friends, still see him now and again. Great stuff everyone
Replied: 9th Jun 2021 at 15:44